After moving to our new house, I stumbled upon a broken mid-century modern clock that I wanted to recreate out of better quality materials.
This clock had a classic and retro look to it that I liked, but not its current, busted-up state. I wanted to stay as close to the original design as I could, primarily as an exercise in reverse engineering the angles and the style and secondly because the contrasting brass and walnut looked really great together.
The pointed arms presented more of a challenge on the table saw because of the compound angles involved, but after some trial and error I was able to recreate the walnut points. Fortunately, I recently built a metal break that made quick work of the brass arms and it was on to the clock body.
I chose to remake the body out of solid walnut instead of the original brass face attached to a thin ring. I needed to round out the body and add a lip so that the arms’ connection point would be hidden; this was a perfect job for the wood lathe. But before I started turning, I needed to scribe the clock angles and find the center to drill out later. I used a 30 degree protractor to mark each hour’s location and mounted the lathe’s faceplate dead center of those marks.
After turning the clock body, I went over to the drill press and used the angles I drew to drill out the space for the clock movement. I then lined up the brass and walnut arms with the hour marks and set them in place with epoxy and screws. I quickly made some custom minute and hour hands out of the brass sheet to replace the set that came with the clock (they were way too ornate for this design). I finished all of the wood pieces with Danish Oil and polished up the brass to complete this clock remake.
This style may not be my first choice, but it was a great exercise in using mixed materials, making compound miter cuts, bending metal, and turning on the lathe. The clocks is now a prominent fixture in my office and I hope you enjoy it too.
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- SawStop cabinet saw
- Dewalt 20v drill driver combo
- Jet Wood Lathe 12×21
- Carbide lathe tool set
- Countersink drill bits
- Grizzly 14″ Bandsaw
- Grizzly Drill Press (WAAAAY overpriced (3x) on Amazon, buy from Grizzly directly.)
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector
- 1 Micron bag
- Speed square
- 11″ Digital protractor
- Digital Angle Gauge
- Classic steel ruler (cork backed)
- Taper jig
Finishes & adhesives I like: